This is a 3 part series on Canning Safety before, during and after the preservation process. My name is Ott, A and I blog over at a Latte’ with Ott, A and I have been canning produce from the family garden alongside my mother and grandmother since I was about 10 years old. I love enjoying the harvest from our garden all year long and by following some simple safety guidelines you can do the same.
Once food has been picked for canning, if not canned right away, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day before you process. This will help reduce deterioration.
All food should be washed and cleaned properly for canning; making certain that any leaves, stems, dirt or other debris is removed. A colander (as pictured below) can be useful in doing this.
During both food prep and canning a clean kitchen is a must. So start clean and stay clean while you are chopping and preparing your food.
Look over your jars carefully to ensure there are no cracks, nicks or scratches in the glass (especially around the rim of the jar.) Do not wash jars with wire brushes or steel wool to clean jars as this can cause damage to the glass. Only new canning lids should be used for your jars. (Older/used lids are known to have the sealing compound weakened and are unreliable.) Be sure to sterilize your jars and rings before processing. And, sterilizing is simply submerging the jars in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. This can be done in your canner/large pot on the stovetop.
And check over your canning equipment: Boiling Water Canners should check the rack for corrosion as well as the base of their canner for any wearing. Steam-Pressure Canners should examine rubber seals and gaskets for any cracking or warping. If this is found they should be replaced immediately. Make sure the vent pipe is clean and free of debris, the lid can be locked securely and your gauges are working properly. (Please note your local county extension office may offer Pressure Canner Gauge testing.)
And lastly, make sure you plan enough time to thoroughly prepare and process your jars. The actual water boiling/pressure canning process cannot be rushed and other steps of preparing your jars need to be carried through till completion.
Other posts in this series: